by Alexandra Ott
First sentence: (I’d put it here, but I’ve misplaced my copy of the book!)
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There’s some intense moments. It’s in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore.
Twelve-year-old Alli Rosco has a problem: she’s in an orphanage (which she hates and has tried — unsuccessfully — to escape from) and doesn’t want to be adopted (she tried that, too, and ran away because the family was so awful). So, when faced with another adoption day, she takes the most reasonable alternative: she runs away (again). And gets caught (again)… but this time, things go differently. She gets hit with a magic curse, and then a boy helps her escape. His name is Beck, and he tells her that 1) the curse she was hit with is deadly, and that she has about 10 days to live and 2) the Thieves Guild is real and can help get her the money it will take to heal her curse.
The catch? She has to pass a trial to become part of the Guild.
The other catch? She’s not a great thief to begin with.
But, with Beck and the Thieves Guild, she finds a family that she can be a part of, and even though the trial is obscenely difficult, she is game to do the best she can for her friends.
The thing that impressed me most about this was the world building. Ott created something familiar, yet wholly its own with patron saints and 53-day months, and unusual creatures and technology and magic. It sucked me into the story, which I also enjoyed. Alli is a headstrong character, willing to go out on a limb for those she came to care about, and willing to risk everything to save her own life. It’s a decent heist and a good adventure story, and it wraps up quite nicely at the end, while leaving a thread open for the sequel. I’m definitely interested in where Alli’s story is going.